Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Love, Peace and Happiness

The last edition of Kaelah's Corner I Don't Need No Education was the first of a series of three posts about the question: How does spanking work for me and why? This is the second part of the trilogy. It took a little bit longer than planned to write it, but if you scroll down the page you can easily see why: This post is pretty long. So, be sure to have some food and a drink at hand. I don't want to be responsible for any readers dying from dehydration and hunger while reading this post!

In the first part I explained why real life DD and punishments don't hold any attraction for me and that I seek forms of spanking which allow me to enjoy not only the aftermath, but also the spanking itself. So, my kink is not about dealing with real flaws or bad habits, but of course my spanking play is connected to my real life experiences, challenges and longings. As a matter of fact, I am of the opinion that my personality, my fears, my current developments as a human being and my dreams about a happy and fulfilling life shape my kinky fantasies and my spanking play.

That became once again clear to me when I read Pandora's post Feeling grown-up vs feeling small. In that post she asked herself and her readers whether they prefer to feel small, powerless and controlled in their spanking play or grown-up, empowered and in control. My gut feeling immediately gave me a clear answer to that question: […] I can definitely say that [...] I love to play out the empowering type of scenes. Some of my fantasies are age-play fantasies, but they're usually M/m and I'm just an observer. My own play is either empowering or for stress relief (but then as an adult with the help of my equal partner) or for sexual stimulation (then I often want Ludwig to be very dominant and my fantasies can be rather “abusive”, but due to the explicitly sexual context and the fact that these fantasies only occur with my partner, I still remain adult during those scenes).

So, why don't I want to feel small in my spanking play, something many bottoms experience as being very liberating and which helps them to get some relief from the stress of their adult lives? Again, to my mind the answer lies within my own personality and real life experiences. I often feel small in my real life! That doesn't keep me from doing the things I want to do and from taking risks, but it costs me a lot of energy and effort. For many years I started every new project and occupation with the question: Am I good enough for this? Can I really do that? And I always had to prove to myself that I could. Today I try to walk around with a more healthy null hypothesis (which is shared by more men than women I think): I can do everything I want to / have to do! And I try to keep this hypothesis up, unless definitely proven otherwise (99% confidence interval). Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I've gotten a lot better, but I'm still not where I want to be.

As you can imagine, the last thing I need in this process is going back to feeling small and dependent. Although it means a lot of hard work, I've come to love my adult life and the self-reliance that goes along with it. I neither want to be a child again, nor do I want to depend on others (except for mutual dependency) or to be controlled by any fears. Don't get me wrong, of course I long for giving up control from time to time. Sometimes I want to let myself fall and know that Ludwig is going to catch me. But usually I don't use my spanking play for that purpose. Expressing sadness and fear isn't such a big problem for me any more today. When I need that, I lie down next to Ludwig, ask him to wrap himself around me and to hold me tight. And then I just relish the feeling of safety or even cry in Ludwig's arms while he is cuddling and soothing me. If I had to play small in my spanking play, though, the scene and the spanking would feel awkward and again I wouldn't be able to turn it into something good afterwards. That's why I finished my comment on Pandora's post as follows: [...] playing small doesn't fit into my real life and my relationship with Ludwig. Self-confidence from empowering play, moments of stress relief and sexual satisfaction going together with the chance to let go make me feel happier in my everyday life as an adult self-reliant woman, playing small wouldn't work for me in the same way than feeling grown-up during a spanking does.

So, the main purposes of my kink are stress relief, empowerment and sexual satisfaction. Stress relief is the easiest to explain purpose among the three. For me there are two forms of stress relief spankings. The first one is much more common for me than the second one. Haron just described this kind of spanking perfectly in her post A nice spanking: A concept of a “nice spanking” is difficult to explain to some tops. But here’s how it goes: it’s a spanking that warms up and builds up a tingle; feels crisp, but not too challenging; makes me gasp and giggle, but not cry out; might grow harder by the end, but only because I’m thoroughly warmed up. “A spanking is supposed to hurt”? No, it’s supposed to make me happy, actually. If a nice spanking is what I want, leave your sadistic urges at the door. For a nice spanking which helps me to relax I don't need any storyline, no characters, just Ludwig and me as an adult couple. I enjoy feeling Ludwig's touch, the medium severe pain, the warm glowing afterwards and the attention I get from Ludwig during and after the spanking. On Sunday I got one of these spankings. After I had read Haron's account of the nice spanking she got in the morning, I told Ludwig that I longed for one, too. In the evening I just draped myself over Ludwig's knee and got what I was seeking. Actually, I got a bit more than I wanted. Well, we all have got our own definitions of “nice”, haven't we?

The second form of stress relief spankings happened only once to me so far. It's quite similar than the first one, maybe a bit harder in the beginning, so that I can use it to cry and to release not only the feelings of stress but also sadness. As I said, when I'm sad, I usually cry in Ludwig's arms when we are cuddling. But in very rare cases using a spanking for that purpose can work as well. The only scene in which that happened to me so far had begun with a little storyline. But even before the spanking started, I already felt my exhaustion and the urge to cry. Ludwig started with some very hard flogger strokes and I was in tears after stroke number two. At first Ludwig went on with some switches because I had told him that I wanted to try these. The crying became less because I felt challenged and then crying holds no attraction for me any more. But when Ludwig changed to a medium severe OTK hand spanking after a while, I used the feeling of being close to him to release all the sadness that had build up inside me. There wasn't any storyline any more at that point. Ludwig just spanked me, stopped from time to time to caress me and to ask me whether I needed more and whether I needed the strokes to be harder or less hard. So, it was very similar to our normal stress relief spankings, only that I needed more contact and support from Ludwig this time to prevent me from feeling bad about crying during a scene.

While I usually don't need a spanking in order to cry, there is another emotion which I'm nearly unable to express. And that emotion is anger! I'm always afraid to lose control and to hurt someone when releasing the aggressions which are boiling inside me. And there is a lot of anger beyond my calm surface. I would love to set these emotions free in my spanking play. I haven't found the perfect scenarios for that purpose, yet, but at least I'm partially using my aggressions to get some empowerment in my “heroine” scenario spanking play. Empowerment play is definitely my core kink!

I'm of the opinion that most people use their kink to turn negative experiences from the past, their fears or frustrations into something positive, by either setting the negative situations into a new context and giving them a happy ending or by creating a different, positive universe to give them strength. One example for the first type of play are dark scenarios, where some kinksters give themselves into frightening, seemingly uncontrollable situations, but in a save environment and with the knowledge that they will survive and feel stronger afterwards. The second type of play includes the “heroine” scenario empowerment spanking play I enjoy. To my mind, the aim of creating a positive universe that allows me to feel safe and strong is the nucleus of my kink. Again, dark scenarios which feel very scary during the scene and provide strength via the feeling of survival afterwards are an absolute no-go for me. One explanation for that might be the fact, that I didn't always respect my own limits and brought myself into very demanding and scary situations. I definitely don't want to do that any more and dark scenarios could make me feel as if I did. But I think there is more to it than that.

I had a light bulb moment concerning that topic a few weeks ago when Ludwig and I spend some time with a befriended couple, Vincent and Barbara. The two of them are horror film buffs, just like Ludwig. I, however, can't watch any horror films even today, unless it is totally obvious that the movie is about a fantasy world. Gothic horror for example is okay for me, films like Hostel are out of question. Our friends and Ludwig found out during their conversation that all of them already enjoyed horror a lot as kids. Vincent had developed the theory that watching horror movies helped him against the fears he had as a child. While there are horrible, scary things happening in these films, there is no real harm done to the viewer. Ludwig and both of our friends agreed that having survived watching these scary things and the experience that no real harm was done to them made them feel stronger as children.

When I watch horror films, this is completely different. The scenes I see immediately mingle in my head with real life brutality and horror. I can't separate fiction from reality in these moments, except when it is very, very clear that the movie is about a fantasy world. Even when I only read about the storyline of Hostel, it reminds me of real torture and the fact that there are people who are able to treat others as if they were no human beings. And exactly the same thing happened to me when I watched Ludwig's film with Mood Pictures, Inmates. I wasn't reminded of the old exploitation films like Ludwig is, I was reminded of real abuse in prisons, no matter how unrealistic the movie was. Ludwig developed the theory that the different ability to distinguish fantasy horror scenarios from real life horror could be a F-personality type vs T-personality type thing. Most of the horror fans he knows are F-types and most of the people he knows who don't like horror are T-types.

However, for me my way of dealing with horror also explains the kind of spanking play I prefer. Of course I also had a lot of fears when I was a child. But instead of reliving those fears when watching horror and feeling stronger after having “survived”, I made myself a heroine in my fantasies. Someone who isn't even scared by all those horrible things in the first place. And, ideally, someone who has also got strong and honourable friends who support her and fight at her side. Those were the fantasies which made me feel stronger and gave me the ability to deal better with my fears and the challenges of my real life. And this is how my empowerment spanking play works as well. I don't want to relive any scary experiences. Surviving is not enough. What I want is to go into a spanking scenario already feeling strong and supported. And I want my optimism to be approved by the way the spanking unfolds. That gives me a feeling of strength (it's hard, but I can deal and it doesn't brake me), and it can also help me to release some aggressions and turn them into fighting spirit. Finally I often don't only feel strong after such a scene, but also very peaceful and calm.

That doesn't mean that for me a spanking isn't allowed to be scary at all. It can be, but it should be more like the kind of stage fright that overcomes you at the premiere of a play you've rehearsed for weeks. You're nervous because all of your friends are watching, but you're nervous in a positive way, because you've worked hard and you are sure that it will be great fun to play for them. It shouldn't be scary like waiting for an important test one has already failed twice, knowing that this is the last chance and one will be expelled from university if one doesn't pass the exam this time. No, thanks, that's a kind of feeling I definitely don't need, my stomach already cramps when I just imagine a situation like that (luckily that never happened to me). That was why I was so frustrated during the first part of that fifty strokes caning. I had the feeling that I was playing beyond my limits and that I was really panicking and losing control. And the first part doesn't feel “right” for me even today. The only reason why I finally got something out of the scene at all, was that during the second part I was in my heroine mode and had the feeling that I was playing within my limits and that I was able to take it without panicking.

As you can imagine, it is also important not to get too close to any real life challenges in the scenes. In my heroine scenarios I always need the feeling that the top is on my side. Once I get the feeling that the top is trying to do something “at my costs”, I feel betrayed and get really angry. In her post Eliane vs the Marshmallow Eliane wrote about a scene she played in which a top tried to force her to eat a marshmallow. Eliane wasn't willing to give in and finally “won” the battle. In my comment to her post I wrote: Eliane, what you write about stubbornness, competitiveness and the feeling of victory fits very well to my kink and kinky experiences! Only that the scenario you've described most probably would end in a disaster, if Ludwig tried it with me. The reason is that because of some experiences from the past I really hate the idea of someone or, even worse, a group of people trying to make me do something I don't want to do. I surely would react as stubborn as you did, but I wouldn't only concentrate my aggression and anger on the marshmallow, instead I would feel very angry upon Ludwig. In fact this is one of those situations where I can imagine to safeword very quickly, because I know that instead of feeling the kind of relief you felt afterwards, I would be even angrier at the end of the scene.

I had such a kind of scene with Ludwig once, when he tried to motivate me to stay in a stress position by behaving like Gunnery Sergeant Hartman from Full Metal Jacket and telling me that I looked ridiculous with my shaking legs. Unfortunately he hit a red button with that, reminding me of school sports (no one treated me like that there, but I often felt inadequate and ridiculous). So, I struggled through the scene, but freaked out afterwards. Well, that means I curled up on the bed, not saying anything except for the words: “This is NOT my kink!” See what I mean when I'm talking about my inability to express anger?

While challenging me is okay, humiliating me in this context of course doesn't work for me for the same reasons as being broken doesn't work. Leia-Ann made me think about that topic when she asked her readers Is it more humiliating to be stripped naked or to be exposed? In my answer I wrote about humiliation in spanking play in general: [...] I'm not really into humiliation, except for maybe as part of very explicit sexual fantasies I'm living out with Ludwig. […] When Pandora and I co-bottomed for our fun clips, we had one scene in which we were made to stand facing the wall with our skirts tucked in and the knickers lowered. I realised that this was almost too much for me in front of a camera (it's rather something for the sexual fantasies I want to share with Ludwig in private). So, at the risk of disappointing some of our dear readers: You are most probably never going to see me on video being humiliated and exposed. Because in my non-sexual play I'm only interested in empowering scenarios and don't get anything out of any kind of humiliation! Especially not in front of other people because that hits another red button, but that's the story of another post...

With the right scenario, it is even possible to connect spanking play with unpleasant real life experiences, though. One example for a positive connection of real life events and feelings with kinky role play was the Proof of Innocence scenario we shot with Pandora and Tom. For a moment I was able to focus all my negative feelings from the past, all the anger about having been the unloved eager beaver on Pandora's character Rosemary. I knew that there was no danger of really hurting someone because first of all Rosemary was just a character and secondly she and my character Adelheid finally became friends, so I knew that there would be a happy end. But scenes like that are difficult to create and I'm rather a bit too careful than sorry for having made a negative experience (and/or having involved others in a negative experience).

But even without any references to real challenges this kind of play holds a risk of constantly getting more severe than planned and than I'm comfortable with. Of course an empowering spanking has to be severe enough to give me the feeling that I am fighting a real fight, but it must allow me to stay on top. In addition to that I feel better when I'm only showing restrained reactions during these scenes, which can of course challenge a top to go harder than planned in order to elicit some more vivid reactions. Eliane who was in a “I don't want to give in” mood during her recent spanking scenarios wrote about that risk in her post Stubborn To The Point Of Stupid. Gladly, Ludwig is into restrained reactions and we've adjusted our spanking play in order to avoid permanent battles of power in our scenarios resulting in very severe scenes. As I wrote in my comment on Eliane's post: […] playing beyond one's limits really isn't a good idea! […] That's why I usually don't play any scenarios that depend on me quitting or being broken at a certain point. […] When I'm in my “heroine” mood, Ludwig just challenges me and pushes me, but for him it is completely okay when I try to be brave and to show only restrained reactions. We make up scenarios that allow him to stop the scene without me pleading for mercy or something like that, because having to do this would usually destroy the scene for me.

So, this is how stress relief and empowering scenarios work for me! I'm very glad that Ludwig's and my kinks are obviously fitting well enough to make it easy for us to create scenarios that work for both of us and make us happy. I hope that part two of this little series illustrated a bit better what I mean when I say: I can't enjoy having been spanked if I didn't enjoy the spanking itself! But there is still one type of spanking play left, spanking for sexual pleasure. And here suddenly everything seems to be different: Dark scenarios, the longing for a dominant partner and for being controlled, humiliation... How does that fit into the picture? Is that finally my submissive side? These are the questions I would like to look at in the last part of the trilogy which will be posted some time next weekend. After this monster post you sure don't want to read another piece like that for the next few days, anyway...
[To be continued...]


simon said...

that was one long post but i enjoyed reading for spanking for me its about sexual pleasure for both me and my simon.

Arjuna said...

Thank you so much for this long and insightful post, Kaelah. I admire your honesty, and it is heart-warming to read how you, as a couple, try to establish some balance between your respective kinks. I can't wait to read the third part of your post, which might shed yet another light on the aspects you've discussed so far. don't make this a short one.

I will comment in more detail then. Anyway, you gave me plenty food for thought. Thanks again.

Kaelah said...

@ Simon & Arjuna:
Thanks a lot for your comments! It's good to see that at least two people made it through the whole post... :-)

@ Simon:
The last part of the trilogy will be about spanking and sexual pleasure. So, I hope it will be interesting for you as well.

@ Arjuna:
I'm glad that this post provided you with thought fodder! And I'm really looking forward to reading more about your thoughts and ideas!

Ursus Lewis said...

I almost dehydrated and past away, but it was totally worth it! ;)

Kaelah said...

@ Ursus:
I'm glad you made it through the whole post without suffering any serious health damages... :-)

Indy said...

I made it through the whole trilogy without any untoward effects at all! And much to think about. And hopefully blog about one day. My take on the big v small issue is very different from yours, but also different from EJ's or Pandora's.

I occasionally find myself wondering if kinky people are particularly idiosyncratic, or if everyone is in the sexual play, but most don't discuss it as much as we do.

indy said...

um, their sexual play, not the...

Kaelah said...

@ Indy:
Hmm, good question, I think all sexual play is as diversified as our kinky play. To my mind there are a lot of basic preferences shared by many people ("I like the missionary position..." or "I like being spanked..."), but when you start talking about the details there are a lot of little differences (" a natural environment, wearing hold-ups, with my partner moving only gently and whispering love poems into my ear!" or "...when it is medium severe and makes me feel sexy, empowered and grown-up!"). I think you are right, we are just discussing our sexual play in greater detail than others and therefore become aware of all those little differences.